The Vanguard Way

66 miles from the suburbs to the sea

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HOW IT ALL BEGAN

Recognition

It was our intention to show what could be done by a relatively small club with limited resources to devise a route through our own efforts; whereas most long distance trails have been created by the Countryside Agency (now absorbed into Natural England) or local authorities.

But before long, the concept of a route from London to the sea had caught on, and the original idea for a simple written route description had become a formal permanent trail, recognised and waymarked by the local authorities through whose areas it passes.  And the Ordnance Survey agreed to show the route on their excellent Landranger and Explorer maps.  So we think we can claim to have exceeded our original target.

section of an Ordnance Survey Map

We can't claim to be the only ones with this idea.  At the same time as the Vanguard Way was being developed, the Sussex and Kent Areas of the Ramblersí Association were putting together an idea for a similar route, the 82-mile Wealdway, which starts at Gravesend then works its way to the Ashdown Forest.  About halfway along their respective distances, the two routes come together and fight each other off several times before diverging at their south ends, the Vanguard Way heading west to Seaford, the Wealdway east to Eastbourne.

However, the Vanguard Way offers a more direct route from London, and we just beat them to launch by four months!

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© 2009 Colin Saunders